Since it's Canada, safe to say that nobody here on the archive was there.* The Canada shows didn't have as big of a parking lot scene and this show was small for the era, with less than 19,000 people (it was built for - what else, eh - hockey). Conversely, Canada didn't have the Big Brother mentality that had started to plague the eastern shows during post-Touch.
If you've never been, Hamilton is a beautiful city with the Canadian friendliness, just south of Toronto (and just west of Niagara Falls & Buffalo). This semi-obscure show pops up on 90s fave lists sometimes for the Scarlet>Fire
, which was yanked for the So Many Roads
box. I say "semi" because the Ontario shows followed the Cap Center shows (Terrapin Limited
) and were followed by the Albany run (Dosin' @ the Knick
), which (along with Nassau & MSG) are often considered the best '90 eastern shows. So it gets overlooked (edit:: not as much now that it's on the Spring '90
boxes). This is the "peak" of the Brent era where his great playing was often a highlight.
The show is known for : Scarlet>Fire; Hey Jude (a complete version, interpolating "Dear Mr. Fantasy"); Believe it or Not (last one ever).
1st set. Solid, and doesn't need to warm up and settle in. By BioDtL-12 (one of only 2 in '90) the machine is rolling along. The Stones' Last Time
is in one of its better versions. The only hiccup is the played-to-death yet rarely-in-the-pocket Picasso Moon
, though it's better than some other '90 versions. "Bigger than a drive-in movie ooo-eee"? C'mon, Barlow. It has clunky transitions and I think Jer never knew quite what to do with Bobby's pet project. Stylistically a twin of "Hell in a Bucket", it needed a better arrangement, smoother lyrics for Bobby's spit-delivery, and some space for Jer to expand. Dough Knees
is lickety-split and off; no expansion.
2nd set. Opens with a Scarlet>Fire that's a best-of-'90 candidate. I love just about any Scarlet but truth is this one's average until the tranny when each of the boys catch a spark and push the energy into a flaming Fire like 13-year-old pyromaniacs. A peppy, inspired, 20-minute version. You can hear Mickey's Fire-specific percussion (marimbas setting?) better on the SBD sources than on So Many Roads' Disc 4. Jer walked off quite a bit earlier than everybody else during the jam out of Truckin'. Brent inserts a stanza of Dear Mr.Fantasy
into Hey Jude
. This was the first complete Jude
since '69 and the last. After this, the song was used only as a reprise. This is a Brent block but Phil pwns it. BTW - this was also the last Believe It
and one of only six. It hadn't been played in 2 years. I don't remember the whole story but didn't somebody hate playing it? Too bad, eh? It was more developable than some of the '92-'95 songs that never gelled. Surprisingly, the set ends with the best Sugar Mag
of '90. Letter perfect - it's for this the show should be known. And the same can be said for the encore. These Copp shows are just as good as the more highly-valued Albany '90, MSG '90 (except for 9/20), and better than the Maryland '90 shows.
*Just teasing all of you Canuck deadheads!
1st Set: B
2nd Set: C+
Overall = 3½ stars
Beat it On Down the Line - a dozen and in
The Last Time - were now on top of it
Fire on the Mountain - plus the jam out of Scarlet
Sugar Magnolia - Bobby better than year before
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - emo Jer
SOURCES - There's a great Hunter matrix (seamons.113144)
if you prefer the excitement over the official box. The vid is usually on YouTube. Scarlet>Fire is on So Many Roads
. It's All Over Now is on Garcia Plays Dylan
DylanM - Not sure how you would institute a tiered rating system based on eras, but good points. Well-stated.